France honours Kopa

France was to bestow the rank of Officer of the Legion of Honour on former star Raymond Kopa at a reception at the Elysee, the French league announced Monday.

Kopa was a star of France's FIFA World Cup campaign when Les Bleus placed third, although he was eclipsed by strike partner Just Fontaine, who netted 13 goals - an all-time tournament record. Fontaine received the same award in 1970.

Kopa, who was to receive his honour from President Nicolas Sarkozy, won a slew of top honours, including a trio of European Cups with Real Madrid from 1957 to 1959.

He was a runner-up in the first ever edition of the event in 1956, losing to Real with Stade Reims before joining the Spaniards in time for the following season.

In 1959, he was on the Real side which beat his former French outfit. Kopa, born Raymond Kopaszewski, won 45 international caps, scoring 18 times, and was the first French winner of the Ballon d'Or accolade in 1958.

He won four league titles with Reims and two more with Real, whom he left after three seasons to rejoin his former club.

The Officer of the Legion of Honour is the second-highest of five categories for France's highest decoration.